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Chargers add weapons off bench

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Oct 3, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a href="http://www.chargers.com/news/headline_detail.cfm?news_key=2343" target="_blank">Chargers.com</a>

    <img src="http://bolttalk.com/images/caldwell03.jpg" alt="Reche Caldwell" />

    Teams in the NFL know the Chargers possess many weapons with quarterback Drew Brees, running back LaDainian Tomlinson, tight end Antonio Gates and wide receivers Keenan McCardell and Eric Parker.

    But on Sunday afternoon when the Chargers defeated the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots 41-17 before the 119th straight sellout at Gillette Stadium, the Bolts threw a couple of more weapons at the beleaguered Patriots on a crucial third-quarter touchdown drive.

    Michael Turner, the second-year backup running back, spelled Tomlinson with gains of 18 and 7 yards, breaking tackles along the way.

    Four plays later Reche Caldwell, the fourth-year wide receiver coming back from a season-ending knee injury, beat one-on-one coverage for a 28-yard touchdown pass from Brees that gave the Chargers a 31-17 lead with 19 seconds left in the third quarter.

    "Guys like Reche and me who don't play as much have got to take advantage of our opportunities when we do get on the field," Turner said. "We have to do our job. We know certain guys are going to get all the press, but we're all out there rooting for each other."

    Turner finished the game with 11 carries for 44 yards, but the two third-quarter carries were the most important plays of his young career.

    "He's a powerhouse," said center Nick Hardwick. "Those guys (the defense) are tired by then and he comes in and bam, he's hitting them. He's a grinder like the rest of us."

    One reason the Chargers released Jesse Chatman at the start of training camp is they had confidence their 2004 fifth-round draft pick from Northern Illinois was ready to assume the role of spelling Tomlinson, the Chargers Pro Bowl running back who touched the ball Sunday 28 times.

    "The thing I like about our team is we have young guys that have the desire to get better," said linebacker Steve Foley, who along with the rest of the defense was afforded more time on the bench as Turner and Caldwell kept alive the scoring drive. "Guys like Reche and Michael and other guys on the team – I could go down the list -- are capable of doing the job. The coaches will put those guys in positions to make plays when they're called upon, and they're coming through for us."

    Caldwell, who had 18 receptions and three touchdowns before he was injured early in the sixth game of the 2004 season at Atlanta, had only one catch entering the Patriots game. But he made his second reception of the year his first touchdown catch when he got behind the Duane Starks in the right corner of the end zone.

    "It feels good to go out there make some plays and help the team," Caldwell said. "It was a post and Drew saw the one-on-one matchup and gave me an opportunity to make play. He tossed it up there and I made a play on it."

    He finished the game with two catches for 36 yards, having also caught an 8-yard pass on a third-and-7 situation that kept alive a drive that consumed 8:55 and ended with a 21-yard field goal by Nate Kaeding for a 34-17 lead with 4:17 left in the game.

    "I think this shows we have a lot of depth at different positions," Caldwell said. "We have guys who can go out there and make plays when given the opportunities. We capitalized on their mistakes and we made plays to win the ballgame."

    New England offensive guard Stephen Neal, the San Diego High alumnus, said the Patriots saw the teamwork in the Chargers that has been a trademark of New England its run of three Super Bowl titles in the last four years.

    "We had a lot respect for San Diego before the game," Neal said. "We knew they were a good football team with offense, defense and special teams that works hard together. They're for real."

    On a day when Brees was 19-of-24 for 248 yards with touchdowns and no interceptions and no sacks, when Tomlinson carried 25 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns and caught three passes for 34 yards, when Gates caught six passes for 108 yards, when Parker caught four balls for 51 yards and when McCardell caught one pass for an 11-yard touchdown, they Chargers added two more weapons named Turner and Caldwell.

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